Otago Polytechnic


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Research from Zellmer, Johanna


Johanna Zellmer


Johanna Zellmer completed a formal apprenticeship as a goldsmith in Germany and holds a Master's degree from the Canberra School of Art, Australian National University. She is a Principal Lecturer and Studio Coordinator for Jewellery & Metalsmithing.

Johanna explores contemporary discourses of capitalism and identity by using currency as a key medium. Through the basic jewellery interventions of cutting and forging minted state symbols from coins, Johanna questions whether the hybrid identities of contemporary culture can be embodied in a single object. The publication of a book alongside her touring exhibition ‘forged’ enabled her to comprehensively capture interlinking concepts of nation states, migration, data collection, access and social encounter as being essential to her practice. She considers contemporary jewellery to be able to function as an analytical tool or instrument of identity politics. Her most recent research considers the advance of human genome counting towards DNA sequencing entire populations. She’s questioning its potential for inclusion or exclusion of migrants, with references to the American sci-fi movie Gattaca from 1997. Accordingly Johanna explores the potential of jewellery to be used as a medium of socio-political knowledge.

Johanna helps students to grow their own making, writing and exhibition practice in the field of contemporary craft. She is teaching across all levels and has been supervising postgraduate projects in both Jewellery and Ceramics in the past, with candidates’ research intersecting a wide range of disciplines, including architecture, medicine and theology. In 2014, she co-founded CLINKProject with Shane Hartdegen (HoD at Hungry Creek Art & Craft School), which prompts annual student and staff collaborations towards experimental and traditional pop-up exhibitions in Auckland and abroad. These have attracted invitations from the Auckland Museum, Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, Radiant Pavilion and the Percy Grainger Museum in Melbourne. Key driving aspects developed by the group are collaborative making, public interaction and collective publication in the journal, Scope: Contemporary Research Topics (thescopes.org).

Johanna’s work has been presented in New Zealand's TVONE series Neighbourhood (episode 10 - North Dunedin) and been selected for the Parkin Drawing Prize. She exhibits internationally and her research projects are frequently discussed by Munich-based, Indian philosopher Dr Pravu Mazumdar.

Research Outputs

Oral Presentation

Zellmer,J. (2019) Sweden Residency and Munich Showcase. Dunedin School of Art, 25 July 2019

Zellmer, J. (2019) When the crafts are entering the space outside themselves - Part 2. https://konstepidemin.se/kalender/changing-position/

Zellmer, J. (2019) CLINKProject - Collaboration, Intervention, Exhibition. Co-authored paper, seminar presented jointly with colleague Andrea Daly (HCAC, Auckland), University of Gothenburg, Academy of Design and Crafts, 20 March 2019 at 3pm, 60 min

Last, A and Zellmer, J. (2018) CLINK Project: Collaboration – Intervention – Exhibition. The Dunedin School of Art Public Research Seminar Programme, 10 May, 60min.

Creative Work

Zellmer, J. (2019) Allotropic. https://www.munichjewelleryweek.com/event/allotropic/

Zellmer, J. (2019) Meld Exhibition at Konstepidemin Gallery, Gothenburg, Sweden; 6 April - 5 May 2019; opened by art historian Love Joensson.

Zellmer, J. (2019) CLINK project 6. Radiant Pavilion, Melbourne Contemporary Jewellery and Object Biennial, 7 - 15 September.

Zellmer, J. (2018) Four coinscapes from series CITIUS, ALTIUS, FORTIUS. Kaitangata Post Office, 17-25 March, 4 pieces exhibited. Exhibition of 60 New Zealand artists with affiliation to Kaitangata, including Robin White. Curated by Anne-Marie Davis.

Hartdegen, S. and Zellmer, J. (2018) Moments from the Body Political. Co-curator of Exhibition, No Filter Jewellery-Fest, VicBooks Kelburn, 12-15 April.

Zellmer, J. (2018) For Otto and Alfredo. Solo exhibition; Buchhandlung Bindernagel; Friedberg, Germany from 14 July – 1 August 2018.

Discussion/ Working Paper

Zellmer, J. (2019) It's no a big deal. Joint conversations in the exhibition 'Meld' at Konstepidemin, Gothenburg, Sweden; moderator Babro Oestlund, invited guest Grace Lai (curator of Decorative Arts, Auckland Museum, NZ); 25 April 2019, 120 min

Journal Article

Zellmer, J. (2018) When the crafts are entering the space outside themselves. South African Journal of Art History, Volume 32 Number 2, ISSN 0258-3542, 2018: 173-182.

Conference Contribution - Other

Hartdegen, S. and Zellmer, J. (2018) CLINKProject: Collaboration – Intervention – Exhibition. Oral presentation Unpacking the Language of Things Symposium, Dowse Art Museum, 12 April 2018, 60min.

Zellmer, J. (2017) Visions from the Colonies. Abstract selected for inclusion at the Association for Contemporary Jewellery's (ACJ) 20:20 Visions Conference, Sheffield, UK, 7 - 9 July 2017 http://www.acj.org.uk/index.php/2-uncategorised/426-conference-july-2017. Invited speakers were Boris Bally (USA), collected by the V&A (Victoria & Albert) Museum, UK; Elizabeth Shaw (AU), Griffith University, Brisbane; Simon Fraser (UK), MA Course Leader, Central St Martin’s, London; visiting professor Christoph Zellweger (CH/UK), Sheffield Hallam University; Johanna Zellmer (DE/NZ), Dunedin School of Art, Otago Polytechnic and contemporary jeweller Melissa Cameron (AU/US).

Conference Contribution - Published Paper

Zellmer, J. (2017) When the crafts are entering the space outside themselves. Presented at 'Craft.Object.People.' 11th National Conference of the South African Journal of Art History. School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics, University of Cape Town, South Afrika, 10-12 August 2017; 20 min. ACJ's 20:20 Visions Conference, Sheffield, UK, 7 - 9 July 2017 20 min. Research Seminar Series, Department of Languages and Cultures, Otago University, 24 October 2017; 20 min.

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